Friday, February 01, 2013

Quran Versus Hadiths- A Christian Turned Muslim's POV

I came across the following video by Thomas Anderson, a Christian turned Muslim, and at first found it rather refreshing. Thomas is one who very carefully delineates the difference between a Muslim and an Islamist, claiming that all the nasty stuff comes from the Hadiths, which he does not subscribe to. He believes that those who do are defilers and not true Muslims.  He has a series of videos, including one where he invites people to ask him questions, so I did. I was truly curious about the references in the Quran, not the Hadiths, that refer to death for apostasy, since he was so emphatic about it not being in the Quran.

I asked:

Can you please explain Surah 4:89

They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.

His response:

You are a Christian seeking to take one ayat out of context and using (oqtuloohum) - the word for 'battle' - as 'kill' in translation.

You are striving to portray muslims as blood-thirsty. But this is far from the Truth.

We are taught to be kind and just - equitable - with those who do not attack us for our service to The God, Creator of all things. Surah 60:8

But if they attack us for our beliefs, we are allowed to fight back. Surah 60:9

Play games elsewhere.


Thomas Anderson 18 minutes ago

"How is it with you, that you are two parties touching the hypocrites, and God has overthrown them for what they earned? What, do you desire to guide him whom God has led astray? Whom God leads astray, thou wilt not find for him a way." Surah 4:88

Thomas Anderson 18 minutes ago

"They wish that you should disbelieve as they disbelieve, and then you would be equal; therefore take not to yourselves friends of them, until they emigrate in the way of God; then, if they turn their backs, take them, and battle (waoqtuloohum) them wherever you find them; take not to yourselves any one of them as friend or helper." Surah 4:89

Thomas Anderson 18 minutes ago

"except those that betake themselves to a people who are joined with you by a compact, or come to you with breasts constricted from fighting with you or fighting their people. Had God willed, He would have given them authority over you, and then certainly they would have fought you. If they withdraw from you, and do not fight you, and offer you peace, then God assigns not any way to you against them." Surah 4:90

Thomas Anderson 9 minutes ago

So as you see, when the context is given, we are to fight those who fight us, especially those of the disbelievers who seek to oppress and murder.

Learn the difference between a muslim - one who submits - and an Islamist.

Muslims follow the Quran only.

Islamists follow hadith.

Now that you know the Truth, if you persist in perpetrating falsehood, you will be called to account for it. Surah 24:19


I thought it was a rather simple, non-provocative question, he seemed reasonable, but obviously not. I was about to tell him that the quote from Surah 4:89 was taken from, including the word "kill", but he had already blocked me.  I was actually rather disappointed because I would have liked to engage him further. I have always been careful to distinguish between radical Islamists and Muslims, I know there is a difference. He might not buy into all the violent parts of the Hadiths, but he's certainly no different when it comes to censorship. Had I been rude, I could understand the blocking, but in my opinion it was totally unwarranted.


Anonymous said...

The Quran can be recited raw as a from of prayer---it has beautiful rythm and sound---but if one is reading it for meaning---it should be read with "tafsir" because the Quran was revealed over approx 23 year time period and some of the verses are connected to specific historical events. I would reccommend tafsir of Muhammed Asad or Yusuf Ali.

For the verses that concern you---I would like to put them in context using tafsir of Yusuf Ali.....

Surah 4 verse 88
Why should you be divided into 2 parties about the hypocrites?"....etc

the hypocrites are those converts to Islam that claimed they believed but deserted the army during the battle of Uhud. The community was divided about how to handle these deserters and the Quran advises them to leave them alone.

Surah 4 verse 89
"they but wish that you should reject faith,...."...etc

This verse gives additional advice that if these deserters should join the opposing armjy(enemy) they should be treated as the enemy.

Surah 4 verse 90
"Except those who join a group between whom and you there is a treaty...."....
The Prophet Muhammed(pbuh) made many alliances and peace treaties with the tribes and communities surrounding Medina---and the Quran advices that if any of these deserters join such a group (instead of going to the Meccans who were the enemy) then to leave them (the deserters) alone if they want peace.

Anonymous said...

Compare the Quranic policy towards desertion with that of the U.S. army where desertion during wartime has the death penalty (and is considered treason)

Incognito said...


The last time a US soldier was executed for desertion was in 1945. Now the most they get is 24 months, tops.

Too bad the Quran doesn't have the same policy towards apostates.

But you have brought up an interesting point. The Quran was written thousands of years ago, and much is not, nor should be, relevant to contemporary times.

I appreciate your response, but I was referring to apostasy not desertion. I'd like to hear your views on that.

Anonymous said...

U wrote--"Quran does not have the same policy towards apostates"---since we have already established that the verses in your post are about army desertion during wartime---not apostacy---can you show me any verses from the Quran that talk about apostacy?

The Quran contains some examples of "law" (jurisprudence) but it is not a book of law---it is mostly a book of spiritual guidance and outlines universal ethico-moral principles. Some of these principles...such as Justice tempered with compassion and mercy, can be used in formulating policies and laws.

However, Muslims are human beings---and sometimes, will ignore wisdom that is inconvenient---and that is what happened with apostacy.

I feel apostacy law has no basis in the Quran or Islam---the shahada begins with the declaration "there is no God...." ---which indicates to me that in order to arrive at "truth" (of God) all presuppositions of God must first be rejected/re-examined---without this first step, the next step---"but God"---is intellectually impossible. To underscore this point---the Quran tells the story of Prophet Abraham (pbuh) and how he rejected the prevalent idea of God and began his own journey of questioning and learning--to arrive at the conviction of One God.

what of those who do not arrive at the same conclusion as Prophet Abraham (pbuh)?---the Quran says in Surah 109 verse 6 "To you be your way and to me mine".

Incognito said...

sadly, it's not just individuals who have ignored "wisdom that is inconvenient". Islamic republics have, as well, when they sentence people to death for apostasy.

I'm not sure what happened to your religion in the past 20 or so years. Some Muslims have become increasingly hardline and fanatical, and that's what most people in the West have a problem with. I have always believed everyone has the right to worship how they please, as long as they don't force their beliefs on others. I don't believe any religion should dominate the world, and it seems that there are a slew of Muslims who have that goal in mind.

I believe there are many paths to God, and I take offense to any one religion claiming theirs is the only way. That goes for any religion, including Christianity.

You are obviously an enlightened person, and I can only hope that more come to think your way. I can guarantee that people in the West would have no problems with Islam if all Muslims believed as you do.